MEMORIAL: A "ghost bike" stands
as tribute to London bicycle courier Henry Warwick killed in a
collision. Picture: BRITTA CAMPION
Source: The Advertiser
THE first time I saw one I thought the white bike had been abandoned by its frustrated owner.
And then I saw another, and another. They were newly painted with
fresh flowers tied to their bars and I realised these bikes marked the
spot where a cyclist had been killed.
They are called ghost bikes, named after their haunting warning to other drivers and cyclists of the dangers of the roads.
it seems they are everywhere in the British capital, leaning against
railings and lamp posts at busy intersections and roundabouts.
is wrong on the streets of London. Cycling fatalities had dropped and
the roads were getting safer. But now they are not.
576 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the
same time 1275 cyclists have died on British streets.
There were 1850 deaths and serious injuries in the first half of 2011, a 12 per cent rise on the year before.
In central London, 16 cyclists were killed last year, six more than 2010.
the popularity of cycling has increased and more bikes, buses and
trucks are jostling at traffic lights like the start of the Tour de
At the same time, Transport for London's allocated funding
for road safety also dropped from $44.2 million to $14.7 million
between 2008 and 2011.
Cycle safety has reached crisis point in the UK.
Yard recently announced it was planning the first corporate
manslaughter charge against Transport for London after a 24-year-old
cyclist was killed by a cement truck on a notoriously dangerous stretch
of road in Kings Cross.
My fiance, who cycled daily to work in Brisbane without accident, took up riding to his London job to avoid the packed Tube.
morning traffic last year, a van driver turned without checking and
slammed my partner off the van's windscreen into oncoming traffic.
His bike was bent in two, his pants torn from his legs and layers of skin were missing - but he was lucky.
In November last year I spent the day with The Times
news reporter Mary Bowers at the Royal Courts of Justice covering one
of Julian Assange's many extradition appeal hearings. While we waited
for Assange to address the press Mary and I made plans to catch up in a
few days' time.
Two days later Mary, 27, was cycling to work and was crushed by a cement truck outside The Times office.
been nearly four months and she is still unconscious and remains in a
trauma unit with broken legs, a broken pelvis and a broken arm.
Mary and the many other people injured and killed on the roads, became the inspiration for The Times cycle safety campaign.
Prime Minister David Cameron has joined the 30,000 people supporting it.
who's got on a bicycle, particularly in one of our busier cities, knows
that you are taking your life into your hands every time you do so, and
so we do need to do more to try and make cycling safer," he told
He pledged to improve problem road junctions, improve cycle training for children and invest in better cycle routes.